Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cynthia Liu: After Jackie Goldberg’s Win, How to Keep Momentum Going

Diane Ravitch's blog

Cynthia Liu, a journalist in California, writes:

With public education champion Jackie Goldberg’s win on the LAUSD school board seat, it’s time for public school advocates to keep the momentum surging! Update on charter accountability bills: 1507 was voted on Monday and passed out of assembly and goes to the California State Senate. YAY & THANK YOU to all who called and voted YES.
But two additional bills need to get to the Assembly for a floor vote.
Call today (Wednesday) or Thursday (morning) and say,
Script: “Hi I am asking the assembly member ________ to vote AB1505 & AB1506 out of the appropriations committee so that they can go to the floor for a full vote. I do not want them to die in committee on Thursday.”
These folks are high priority, but everyone should call. Look up your California legislator here:

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Posted by on May 16, 2019 in Uncategorized


Tom Ultican: Jeb Bush’s Disastrous Florida Education Mess

Arm yourself against rightwing propaganda.

Diane Ravitch's blog

You may hear choice zealots boasting about Jeb Bush’s “Florida Model.” As Tom Ultican explains here, they are delusional or  just making stuff up (to put it politely). 

Ultican relies on Sue Legg’s excellent report and digs down to show that the motivation behind Jeb’s so-called A+ plan was profits and religion, not education.

Jeb Bush and his friends have made Florida into a low-performing mess that can’t attract or retain teachers. But it has become a magnet for profiteers, grifters, and fundamentalists.

Ultican writes:

When the A+ Program was adopted in 1999, Florida had consistently scored among the bottom third of US states on standardized testing. The following two data sets indicate no improvement and Florida now scoring in the bottom fourth…

Last year, 21 percent of Florida’s students were enrolled in private and charter schools. The Florida tax credit scholarships (FTCS) went to 1,700 private schools and were awarded…

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Posted by on May 16, 2019 in Uncategorized


William Mathis: The High School Rankings: Born on Third Base or Hit a Triple?

Diane Ravitch's blog

William Mathis is managing director of the National Education Policy Center and a member of the Vermont Board of Education. He says that you can take the model below and apply it to any state; the result will be the same. The high schools in affluent communities are the “best,” and the high schools enrolling students in low-income communities don’t make the cut. That is about the way both NCLB and Race to the Top determined which schools needed to be closed: the schools attended by poor kids. It was knowing and heartless malpractice.

He writes:

Evaluating High Schools: Born on Third Base or hit a Triple?

If you were lucky, you missed it. But U.S. News and World Report recently committed their annual statistical malfeasance by offering up a rank order of what it proclaims as the nation’s “best” high schools. They amalgamated state tests, participation in AP/IB classes…

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Posted by on May 11, 2019 in Uncategorized


Mercedes Schneider: The Utter Failure of Louisiana’s Voucher Program

Betsy Devos is destroying our nation’s public schools.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Mercedes Schneider summarizes here the story of vouchers in Louisiana, which are now widely recognized as a train wreck.

New Orleans’ public radio station WWNO broadcast a detailed account of this policy failure, which steers students to D and F rated schools. State Superintendent John White, one of the voucher program’s most ardent advocates, refused to be interviewed for the program.

”Multiple local news outlets were involved in the investigation:

‘The Cost of Choice’ is the result of a reporting collaboration between | The Times-Picayune, WVUE Fox 8 News, WWNO and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.”

When the program was launched in 2012, Then-Governor Bobby Jindal “beamed with pride” and voucher proponent Betsy DeVos lauded the new vouchers, and the cheerleaders said they

“would free countless lower-income children from the worst public schools by allowing them to use state tax dollars in the form of vouchers…

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Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Uncategorized


Oregon: Tens of Thousands of Teachers Walk Out, Closing 600 Schools, to Protest Working Conditions

Diane Ravitch's blog

Thousands of teachers in Oregon joined the Red4Ed Movement, walking out to protest overcrowded classes and a lack of support staff, including school nurses and mental health counselors. 

Nearly 45% of all reported classes in Oregon have 26 students or more,” said John Larson, a high school English teacher and president of the Oregon Education Association.
Some classes have 56 or more students, he said.
So instead of going to class, many teachers were taking unpaid days off work to flood at least six protest sites across the state.
The mass exodus of teachers has already forced 25 school districts to close 600 schools Wednesday, Larson said.
The biggest district to close, Portland Public Schools, has more than 46,000 students.
“This is historic,” Larson told a sea of red-shirted teachers, parents and students at a riverfront rally in downtown Portland. “This is what we came here for today…

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Posted by on May 9, 2019 in Uncategorized


Steven Singer Has a Very Innovative Idea for Schools: More People

Diane Ravitch's blog

Steven Singer goes through the long list of failed innovations that “Reformers” have foisted on the schools.

Think how many billions have been wasted on standardized tests, interim assessments, data coaches, test-based evaluations, Common Core, etc.

He has an idea for an innovation that he is certain will make a difference: more people. 

Have you walked into a public school lately? Peak your head into the faculty room. It’s like snatching a glance of the flying Dutchman. There are plenty of students, but at the front of the overcrowded classrooms, you’ll find a skeleton crew.

Today’s public schools employ 250,000 fewer people than they did before the recession of 2008–09. Meanwhile enrollment has increased by 800,000 students. So if we want today’s children to have not better but just the same quality of services kids received in this country only a decade ago, we’d need to hire almost 400,000 more…

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Posted by on May 7, 2019 in Uncategorized


Jan Resseger: How the Federal Charter School Program Defunds Public Schools and Cheats Taxpayers

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jan Resseger has another brilliant article about the charter school strategy of privatization paid for by federal funding. 

Betsy DeVos wants to cut most of the programs in the Department of Education but has asked for an increase of charter school funding, from $440 million to $500 million a year. This year she used that funding to give $82 million to KIPP and $116 million to the IDEA charter chain, which is known for high attrition rates.

She cites an article by Jeff Bryant, a co-author of the NPE study of the federal Charter School Program, which concluded that about one of three charter schools funded by the federal government never opens or closes soon after opening. In some states, the failed charters were even more than 1/3.

In Michigan, 42 percent of the federal dollars granted by CSP were wasted on schools that never opened or subsequently closed. The…

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Posted by on May 2, 2019 in Uncategorized